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Skills Shortages in Covid19 Market!


​As the government announces international borders won’t return to normal until late 2021 (at the earliest), we are bound to witness skills shortages like never before. With the borders essentially closed to non-citizens/residents, this will make it far more difficult for skilled migrants to enter the country, except for those considered to have critical skills – typically within nursing and other medical fields.

Migrants whose skills lie in non-essential fields such as technology and engineering are having to put their migration plans on hold while the country is doing its best to reduce infection rates by maintaining a strict policy on international arrivals. Subsequently, this is going to lead towards a substantial decrease in net migration over the next couple years and as the demand for skilled workers begins to increase, we are bound to see noticeable skills shortages in these “non-essential” professions. For some perspective, last year Australia saw net migration figures of over 150,000. This year numbers are expected to drop to a net loss of at least 80,000, which is the lowest on record since the Second World War. Meanwhile, a lot of onshore workers are sitting tight at their current companies waiting for markets to get back on their feet before making any hasty career changes. In the meantime, employers will either need to adapt to these impending skills shortages, or they’ll simply have to find new ways of attracting fresh talent to their business.

This could be good news for young people trying to get onto the career ladder. With over 3 million 16-25 year-olds in Australia, this pool could be an obvious choice for hiring managers looking for alternative solutions to their business growth objectives. Obviously there comes a skills gap when employing less experienced staff; however, this can be reduced through having well-structured development plans. These are a great way to incorporate specific milestones for new staff to reach. From a planning perspective, this is greatly beneficial to the employer as they’ll be able to predict where their staffs’ skills will lie in-line with the company’s future objectives. This also allows younger employees the opportunity to commence a new role without necessarily having the initial skills or experience required to do the job.

On the other hand, it is important for companies to remain competitive regardless of market changes. Now more than ever, companies need people who can develop fresh ideas and new ways of working to avoid stagnating in today’s highly competitive market. Companies with well-established talent acquisition teams will naturally be better equipped to handle the upcoming skills shortages. Others may find themselves struggling to attract the right staff; in which case they will likely need to expand their hiring capabilities by reaching out to management consultancies and recruitment agencies. Despite the additional fees involved here, external providers have the scope & resource to promptly supply high quality shortlists – critically allowing hiring managers to compare options before making an informed decision on whom they would like to hire.

In summary, it is clear that the recent legislation on international travel is having a profound effect on the arrival of skilled workers into Australia’s markets. Either way, it will be interesting to see how different companies adapt over the coming months, and the subsequent effects on skilled workers given the upcoming shift in competition.